The main purpose of this blog is to fill my Educ 504 Teaching with Technology requirement. However, I have been interested in the idea of blogging ever since my Dad told me I should start one about two years ago. This class has finally "jump-started" my blogging career. (Sorry Dad!)

Thursday, August 2, 2012


Looking through the lists of possible edubloggers and their websites, I had a hard time deciding which one seemed interesting.  (Isn't it sad - an aspiring English teacher still judging books by their covers!)  Then I came across the blog on the very bottom of the first page of Jeff's edublogger recommendations:  Brian Crosby's "Learning is Messy".  Yup!

 In those instantaneous seconds from clicking on the link to arriving at the home page of Crosby's blog, I had already thought up varying ideas on what the blog would look like ("messy"), what the layout would be (pictures/images of colored pencils and crayons), and the content (arts & crafts and DIY projects, duh.  Hello Pinterest!)  At first I thought his website was going to be more of this:

(Probably the coolest thing I've ever seen on Pinterest!)

NOPE!  (But, I was right about the design and layout with images of "messy" school supplies though!)

And what I found was even better!  After scrolling down on his blog I noticed one post that grabbed my attention, mostly because of the images with computers and kids!  Crosby had collaborated (via technology) with teachers from other classrooms in other states using Skype!  He also had his students write blogs almost every day as well as create a wiki page after a trip to the local animal park!  The wiki includes student researched information about animals in a lesson and a video on how to "design" your own animal!  Another cool way the students used technology in the classroom was when they had a guest speaker: Grace Corrigan (the mother of Christa McAuliffe aka the "Teacher in Space" who tragically died when the Challenger space shuttle exploded during launch).  Crosby set up Skype to include classrooms in Virginia and New York so the students there could take part and ask questions!  Very neat!

Even though it may not be a feat as "tremendous" as the ones listed above, Crosby used Skype in a way that I know I will implement in my classroom one day.  Crosby set up Skype to include a sick classmate. *tear!*  It may not seem very "technological" or advanced, but that's not the point here, the point is that sometimes kids can't come to school, be it sickness, or suspension, or some other reason.  And it's not their fault they miss out on education from the classroom.  There's already enough pressure from administrators, parents, and state standards, on teachers today.  So why not?  Why wouldn't you want to include an "absent" student through the use of Skype?

Link to Brian Crosby's "Learning is Messy" Blog


  1. I'm glad that you found Brian Crosby's blog, Michelle. He's been blogging for some time, and he's clearly a creative and dedicated teacher with some ideas worth paying attention to.
    I remember watching the video of his skyping a sick student into class, and I too was moved. On another level, I wonder who else might be missing in our classrooms, or whom it might be interesting for us to include, depending on what's going on in class at that time. Kids are hungry for connections to the adult world and the world of real work...who might we be able to bring in that could add a useful voice to the work of our classroom??

  2. I will definitely be looking at this blog! The fact that he used Skype to include a sick classmate really hits home for me. Earlier this year I was working in a 2nd grade classroom in which 2 kids were diagnosed with cancer within 3 weeks of each other. This was not only a hard thing to explain to the kids, but they were all missing their friends. When we were able to include the kids via Skype, everyone was so excited! This was a moment when I really thought about the wonderful things technology now allows us to do. One of the sick kids always felt overwhelmed when he would come to school and everyone would crowd around him. This was a perfect solution. He could talk to his friends and be included in their daily activities without having that uncomfortable moment. I should include that both kids are doing great and one was even able to come back to school at the end of the year!

  3. Ahhh ... you have just discovered one of the reasons we put Skype on the agenda this summer. Inevitably, a time will come in the coming year when a MACer will be contagious. And rather than make the whole cohort sick, you all have the ability to Skype one another into class. You don't get behind, your participation grade is intact, and the class gets the benefit of your perspective.

  4. Sounds like a great way to use Skype. I've been wondering how to weave it into instruction. I'd like to see more about the activities and assignments he used surrounding the Skype sessions. I love cool techy stuff but I often get caught up in the fun features without incorporating useful instructional goals and activities. I'll have to monitor myself for signs of using a tech tool without linking it to my instructional goals. The application of Skype to include students who cannot come to class is great but I wonder how often that will be needed. I'd like to explore how online learning or distance learning can be integrated with classroom instruction. For instance, I've heard about teachers using virtual classrooms exclusively but what about having both in person instruction AND distance learning in a classroom? What effect and benefits could this have on the students? We've already learned that group activities are an important part of classroom instruction. Can a collaboration be achieved with in class students and distance learners? If I have a class of 30 in class students, can I reasonably handle another 10 or 20 or 30 students who attend remotely? What would that look like?